Week 15 Defensive Grades For The Baltimore Ravens
Defensive Line: D+
It was a pretty quiet day from the defensive line, as the unit contributed but definitely didn’t make a big impact on the game.
Arthur Jones, Ma’ake Kemoeatu and Terrence Cody all had three tackles each, but didn’t make any big plays.
Pernell McPhee created the most havoc of all the defensive linemen, as he had a sack and two quarterback hits. However, that sack was McPhee’s only tackle of the game, so his contributions were limited overall.
Haloti Ngata was especially invisible after he had one of his busier efforts last week. Ngata hasn’t been the same player since his litany of nagging injuries, and his performances have been poor more often than not.
When you consider the defensive line did little to pressure Peyton Manning and the fact that the Broncos also rushed for 163 yards, the grade for the defensive line is below average.
Like the wide receivers, it was a bit of a topsy-turvy day for the linebackers as well.
Rookie Josh Bynes led the team with 13 tackles, as he had over half of his career tackles in this game. Bynes has also been a bit banged up, but played admirably nonetheless.
Brendon Ayanbadejo also had one of his better games, as he was second on the team with nine tackles.
The linebacking corp was dealt another blow however, as Jameel McClain was lost for the season with a spinal cord contusion. McClain is the Ravens’ third leading tackler, so he is another defensive playmaker that the Ravens will have to replace.
Speaking of injured linebackers, Terrell Suggs was a non-factor as he is still severely hampered with his biceps injury. Suggs only had three tackles against the Broncos and clearly isn’t himself.
Albert McClellan did have his first sack of the season and also chipped in with six tackles, but it was too little as the Broncos’ offense clicked throughout the game.
With mounting injuries, this unit is becoming more feeble by the week, and it was another below average performance against the Broncos.
On the surface it looks like the secondary did a stellar job controlling Manning, and they did to an extent. Manning’s 204 yards passing were his lowest total of the season by a decent amount, but Manning still efficiently guided the Broncos’ potent offense.
Manning made the big plays when he needed to, and no play signified that more than his 51-yard touchdown bomb to Eric Decker, as he burned Cary Williams en route to the big score.
The unit did do a great job shutting down Demaryius Thomas, as the stud receiver was held to four catches for a season-low 13 yards.
Despite getting burned by Decker, Williams still contributed with seven tackles, one for a loss and two passes defended.
Corey Graham also had a solid game despite dealing with his nagging injuries, as he also had seven tackles and a pass defended.
Strong safety James Ihedigbo filled in for the injured Bernard Pollard, as he had seven tackles starting in place of the Ravens’ leading tackler. Pollard’s ballhawking abilities were definitely missed.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith played in his first game since Week 9 after sports hernia surgery, but was terribly rusty and a step slow as he returned to action.
Ed Reed was relatively unnoticeable as has become the case too often this season, as he couldn’t make a big play to spark the defense.
Overall it was impressive that Manning was held to his lowest passing total on the season, but that was a little skewed as the Broncos had no need to air it out in the second half with such a comfortable lead. The secondary also couldn’t get any turnovers so that was also a bit misleading.
Thus, it was a slightly above average effort despite the large amount of points allowed.
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